VIGILANTE! A Pilot's Story of 1,200 Hours Flying the Ultimate US Navy Reconnaissance Aircraft.
The zenith of Jet Age aerial reconnaissance at Mach 2 came in the form of North American’s RA-5C Vigilante with two crewmen operating highly sophisticated sensors, cameras, infrared mapping, side-looking radar and electronic countermeasure equipment.
The aircraft’s history almost exactly corresponds to the evolution of the war in Vietnam, where the Vigilante located targets and assessed post-strike damage. Because of this ultra high risk mission, the RA-5C suffered the highest loss rate of any US Navy aircraft, and the number of A-5s built was small as was the cadre of men who flew them. This book explains the aircraft and its development in great detail and gives new insight into the courageous men who flew the Vigilante in combat.
No comprehensive book has ever been written about the RA-5C Vigilante. Author Robert ‘Boom’ Powell was a US Navy carrier pilot for 16 of his 20 years in the service, and his second combat tour in Vietnam was spent flying the Vigilante. He incorporates historical fact, detailed new information, and never-before-published photographs to produce the definitive work on this aircraft. Easy-to-read historical facts and technical information is interspersed with personal stories giving the pilot’s point-of-view.
The author also contacted 40 veterans of the RA-5C community to acquire their Vigilante stories, which have also never been told. Aviation enthusiasts of all types will be fascinated by this complete study of the unique and exotic RA-5C Vigilante.